Colts RB Donald Brown’s 645 rushing yards ranked 30th in the NFL last season but they were acquired at an average of 4.8 yards an attempt, a figure exceeded by only 10 of the running backs ranked above him. So one wonders: why didn’t the Indianapolis Colts use him more, and might they this season?
“Donald is an every down back,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano declared during the club’s organized team activities. “He is doing a tremendous job and he is having a fantastic offseason. He understands, especially on third down as far as protections go and all of those things. Nothing is going to be more important than protections.”
Brown is the veteran, the smart guy, the protector, the big-play threat, the incumbent. But Pagano wants to play heavy-shouldered offense. He wants his hefty offensive line to wear on the defense and his backs to batter and bang between the tackles.
That will be an adjustment for Brown. If he is to retain his status as an every-down back, he will have to do it between the tackles. He will have to do it when the pads go on.
Brown averaged a gaudy 4.8 YPC in 2011, but without his 161-yard effort against the Titans in Week 15, his YPC would drop to a more pedestrian 4.1 YPC. However, the running game should have more room to run with QB Andrew Luck under center in 2012. We're expecting Brown to be the lead back, but that could change in training camp. Pagano certainly seems to like him, however, and that will impact his ADP.